Women's Test: Sneh Rana takes 10 wickets as India beat South Africa by 10 wickets


Chandigarh: The Indian women's cricket team has been on a roll in Test cricket at home over the past seven months. On Monday, the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side completed a hat-trick of Test wins at home by winning the only Test match against South Africa in Chennai by 10 wickets.

The Indian women's team celebrates after defeating South Africa on the fourth and final day of the one-off Test against them at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Monday. (PTI)

Seven months ago, India defeated England and Australia in Test matches played in Mumbai. This spectacular victory is the joint longest winning streak in women's Test matches under Kaur's captaincy. India had won three consecutive Tests between 2006 and 2014, while Australia have made three such streaks.

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On the fourth and final day, India secured victory by achieving the target of 37 runs in the fourth innings but this happened after South Africa had put up a strong fight.

Spinners Sneh Rana, Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gaekwad performed brilliantly and bowled out South Africa for 373 runs after being asked to follow on. India had declared the innings at 603/6 in the first innings. South Africa was all out for 266 runs in the first innings.

The 30-year-old off-spinner Rana improved upon his match-winning performance against Australia by taking seven wickets.

The 30-year-old took 10 wickets in the match. With two wickets in the second innings, she became the second Indian woman to take 10 wickets in Test matches. She performed 10/188 in the match. Fast bowler Jhulan Goswami took 10/78 wickets in the Taunton Test against England in 2006.

South Africa's second innings comeback on the final day was led by Laura Wolvaardt (122), Marizanne Kapp (31) and Nadine de Klerk (61) before Sune Luus made 109. India openers Shefali Verma (24) and Shubha Satish (13), who came in for Smriti Mandhana, took just 9.2 overs to reach the target.

The game was delayed due to drizzle on Monday. Wolvaardt, who scored a century in 259 balls, faced 314 balls and hit 16 fours. In the morning, Deepti Sharma dismissed Kapp LBW and Rana dismissed Delmi Tucker for zero. Just before lunch, left-arm spinner Gaikwad gave India a crucial breakthrough by dismissing South African captain Wolvaardt LBW at a score of 281/5.

Later, Nadine de Klerk's strong defence kept India in check. She scored her first Test half-century and stayed at the wicket for nearly four hours before she became South Africa's last wicket to fall. At tea, South Africa were 336/8 and de Klerk was at the crease with one run to spare, having played a brilliant innings to bring down the total.

It was the last session that saw some brilliant bowling from India. Part-time spinner Shefali Verma bowled Masabata Klaas and Gaikwad took the wicket of de Klerk, leaving the hosts with a target of 37 runs to win.

Kaur said, “They batted well and didn't give us an easy win and we had to work hard for it. Credit goes to Smriti and Shefali who set a platform for us. Everyone in the team contributed with the bat. The way we fielded, it was not easy to field for so many overs in these conditions. Congratulations to our bowlers, especially our spinners. They continued to bowl and had the belief that they could take wickets to win us the game.

He said, “The way the bowlers played in the last two Test matches showed that they can continue bowling and create opportunities. When we came in the morning, we knew that we had only 100 runs left and we had to be careful, not give them easy boundaries. But we also had to keep looking for wickets. We made a really good plan and stuck to it.”

Rana, who was adjudged Player of the Match, said: “Whenever you are able to contribute for your team, it feels great, especially in such conditions. It is an amazing feeling. Initially, it was difficult for the spinners. Later, there was spin and bounce. I would like to give credit to the South African batsmen for the way they batted… we were always in the game and we believed we could win it.”

Both teams will now play a three-match T20I series at the same venue.

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